Beware Roland Garros… if you’re allergic to clay!

A windy day at Roland Garros in May 2008

A windy day at Roland Garros in May 2008

It was May 2008.

I had quit my job in Melbourne to spend a few months in London with Ball Boy.  Our plan was to watch a lot of tennis.

The decision to go to Paris for the French Open was made only a few weeks before the tournament started so it proved to be v difficult to get tickets.  Eventually we secured two tickets for Round 2 from an online ticketing agency, at a painfully hefty price.

After picking up some quiches and baguettes to snack on during the day, we took the Metro and got to our seats on Court Philippe Chatrier (which, despite the hefty price, were a considerable distance from the court!)

The first match was women; Sharapova v Rodina.

Maria Sharapova's back

Maria Sharapova's back

I don’t remember too much about the match but I do remember it was windy.

Really windy.

To quote The Telegraph it was a “Roland Garros sandstorm”.

And when it’s windy the clay swirls around. A lot.

Being focussed on watching the tennis I didn’t pay much attention to BallBoy but I did hear quite a lot of snuffling, sneezing and nose blowing. To which, of course, I repeatedly poked him and asked him to keep the noise down.

After what we’d paid for the tickets I was determined to enjoy every minute of play.

After about an hour of continuing sneezing and nose blowing, I started to hear wheezing type noises.  At this point I turned to look at BallBoy.

It wasn’t a pretty sight.

His eyes were puffy and watery; the left one pretty much closed. Breathing was strained.

And he had been doing his best with the one or two tissues that he happened to have with him.

Not a pretty sight at all.

I  finished my quiche and agreed to take a break to see what supplies we could find to help BallBoy’s situation.

The thing is that as soon as we got away from the court, the snuffling and sneezing stopped.

That’s when we made the connection.

It wasn’t that our seats were so high up the altitude was making BallBoy sick.

Instead, it appears that he is allergic to clay.  (Or it might be that Roland Garros in May brings on his pollen allergy, like it does for Djokovic, but clay allergy sounds more interesting)

When we went back to Roland Garros last year anti-histamines were high on the list of essential items.  Luckily they seemed to do the trick.

Otherwise I would be going to the French Open with someone else during the 2012 Grand Slam.

Given that it’s windy at Roland Garros a lot, if you suffer from allergies, plan ahead and make sure you bring provisions so that can enjoy the event, and see it through both eyes.

Until next time

Grand Slam Gal

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